The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Articles Under: Catechesis and Culture

As I write this article, I'm nursing the tail end of a mild bout of COVID-19. I don’t share that for pity but to point out how much the world has changed in the past few years. Before this decade, I didn't know what a novel coronavirus was. Everything I understood about pandemics was mainly picked up from disaster movies. Social distancing was only a dream my introverted wife possessed in her heart. And the virus that demanded fear as it first swept across the planet is now so common that it's possible to write an article while infected. Though... Read more
The Theology of the Body (TOB) catechesis [i] culminates with profound teachings on responsible parenthood and a vigorous defense of Humanae vitae , but St. John Paul II equally proclaimed the depth and importance of the unitive aspect of marriage. In fact, nearly half of the TOB reflections are based directly on Jesus’ teachings on the indissolubility of marriage (TOB 1–23, based on Mt 19) and the monogamy of marriage (TOB 24–63, based on Mt 5). While emphasizing the inseparability between the procreative and unitive aspects, a key teaching of Humanae vitae , St. John Paul II also provided a... Read more
Don’t scientists, believers, nonbelievers, liberals, and conservatives alike all rejoice in the splendor of creation? Don’t we all wonder about stars that shine lightyears away? About the depths of the ocean swarming with fluorescent fish and star-shaped creatures? About the hummingbird whose wings flap in song while she drinks nectar to satiety? Not only do we experience joy and wonder as we contemplate creation, we also have an innate longing to discover. We long to discover the mysteries of creation and thus uncover the mysteries of God. And this, I’d argue, is true for most people—regardless of their religious belief,... Read more
In 1947, Pope Pius XII launched (what we would call today) a “new evangelization” of the Catholic Church in his great encyclical letter Mediator Dei . [i] Seen as the Magna Carta of the modern liturgical movement, the Pope sought to use that movement as the principal means for the adaptation of the Church to a radically and rapidly changing world. After two catastrophic world wars, 1914–1918 and 1939–1945, the Church could not simply ignore the fact that the world had dramatically changed and that the Church needed to adjust accordingly. Renewing the Liturgy It was, therefore, necessary for the... Read more
As another Holy Day of obligation rolls by, the question arises once again about the wisdom and sustainability of current Mass provision in our Catholic schools in Scotland. In our Cathedral parish here in Motherwell, we have three Sunday Masses, but between us as clergy we normally celebrate eight Masses on Holy Days, mainly in school settings, with varying degrees of enthusiasm and participation on the part of pupils. What is the point? Are we (as is often argued) sacramentalizing pupils who have never been evangelized, never mind catechized? In addition, as Catholic schools worldwide also become increasingly multi-faith—with, for... Read more
“For freedom Christ has set us free… For you were called to freedom... serve one another through love.” (Galatians 5:1, 13) Diego is eleven years old. For years he has received religious formation through the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) in a carefully prepared environment for the religious life of children called an atrium. He is working with a material known as the “Unity and Vastness of the Kingdom of God,” a timeline that takes a long and essential view of the history of salvation. Diego ponders the moment in this history when God says, “Let us make humankind... Read more
If someone is married, in love, or has ever been in love, they can likely tell you when they knew they were in love and, more importantly, when they knew their significant other was in love with them. It’s also likely that one of the individuals fell in love first. Their heart had been moved and they had “arrived” to love. After having arrived, they had to do one of the hardest things: they had to wait. Why wait? Well, because love cannot be rushed, and it certainly cannot be forced. It must profoundly respect the freedom of the other... Read more
What is freedom? Here in America, we sing that ours is “the land of the free.” But, of course, building a free society requires that we put laws in place that actually limit some freedoms. We recognize that these limitations are for the good of our common community. It’s clear in our day-to-day living that human freedom, the ideal for which we strive, is not license to do whatever we want in any given situation. Our freedom must be ordered to a higher good that sometimes transcends our own desires. In our Catholic worldview, freedom is to be ordered not... Read more
Over the past seven years that I have been working in youth ministry, the only thing that has remained consistent is that young people are constantly changing. The middle and high school students I worked with in my first year of ministry are radically different from the students I encounter today. There are a vast number of factors to consider when looking at the constantly shifting youth culture, but it is certainly the case that the dawn of TikTok partnered with a global pandemic has catapulted our young people into a new era—an era defined by uncertainty, division, and an... Read more
As St. John Paul II concluded his Theology of the Body (TOB) Catechesis in November of 1984, he indicated that the application of TOB could go “far beyond the content of the reflections presented here” (TOB 133:1), while reaffirming the importance of his explicit applications to the teachings on responsible parenthood found in Humanae Vitae. Just three years later, the Magisterium provided its first major example of these wider applications of TOB when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith promulgated Donum Vitae to address medical interventions into the transmission of human life. The teachings of Donum Vitae continued... Read more